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Storm Warnings Analysis

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Imagery reveals much more than simply the scenes taking place in a poem; it often gives way to the overall meaning of the piece as well. Adrienne Rich’s “Storm Warnings” is a prime example of this. The chronologically arranged poem literally concerns a storm, but when looked at metaphorically, reveals a whole new meaning. The vivid imagery in Rich’s poem gives way to both the literal and metaphorical meanings, which both in turn relate to the title.
 When looked at from a literal point of view, the poem discusses a storm moving in and the author’s preparation for said storm. One particular image from the first stanza, “Of grey unrest is moving across the land,” strengthens the literal meaning of the poem. It portrays the picture of a large storm moving on, especially with the words “grey unrest,” which alone paint the image of grey restless clouds rolling in. The lines, “…the wind will rise/We can only  close the shutters,” also aid in revealing the literal subject of the poem. The use of tactile imagery allows one to feel the winds pick up. With the second line, it creates the image of darkness, after closing out the lights with the shutters. Together, the lines reveal that despite the elevating winds and oncoming storm, the only thing one can do is close the shutters and prepare for it. The oncoming “grey unrest” is a warning for one to prepare, which relates to the title of the poem, “Storm Warnings.”

A poem’s literal and metaphorical significance are both valuable and each convey different images depending on which point of view one takes. Such is Rich’s poem “Storm Warnings,” expressing the literal story of a storm and the metaphorical idea of emotions, both of which are tied together with the trait of unpredictability.



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